View Full Version : Thinking about re-building my sub enclosure; opinions wanted...

ian ashton
09-28-2011, 04:00 PM
Right now I have 2 Kicker Solo-Baric L7 10's; one is under the drivers dash, and one is behind the spotters seat, both in sealed enclosures.

I'm thinking that I'd like to make some changes, and figured I'd see what you guys think about the 2 options I'm considering...

Option 1: I'd say this is the preferred option, as it utilizes existing equipment, potentially just a better configuration.
Rebuild a slightly larger enclosure and put both 10" L7's under the dash. I figure I can get around 1.6 cubic feet under there, which would be great for the 10's sealed. Not quite enough space to utilize a ported enclosure.

Option 2:While I'm not married to the L7's, they have been a phenomenal speaker so far, so I don't have a lot of reason to change - unless of course Brian @Exile wants to send me something to help promote the brand here in MI ;) LOL!
Rebuild a slightly larger enclosure and replace the 10" L7 with a 12", either sealed or ported. I've never used ported in a boat, so I'm not sure if I'd experience better performance or not, vs. the current 2x 10s that are sealed. Power is not an issue, as I have a ZX1000.1 to power the sub(s), it seems like sealed would be the "safer" choice in a marine environment; thoughts?


Save Space; right now having 2 subs in completely different areas of the boat seems like a poor use of the limited storage space that I have. Using just the area under the dash is the best bet, both for sound and taking advantage of 'unused' space
Improve Sound Quality / Volume; this one is pretty subjective. I think that the 2 10's right now sound great and are incredibly loud, but I also think that I'm pushing them pretty hard (especially the one in the compartment; its pretty muffled back there)

Also, I'm planning to use King Starboard rather than MDF and Fiberglass, which I have done with the last few boxes I've built. Some questions regarding that:

Should I go with 3/4" which seems to be the standard when using MDF, or do I need thicker / thinner?
Is King Starboard the best to use, or is there something different that is better suited for this type of job?
What is a good source? I've google'd around, and looked on eBay, pricing seems pretty standard everywhere. I have a local distributor as well.
Can I cut it with my table saw?
Can I use a nail gun and glue, or screws?
What kind of glue do you use?

09-28-2011, 04:31 PM
I like your option 1 the best. Yes, you can cut the starboard with your table saw. I think stainless screws and epoxy would be the way to put the enclosure together. Looking forward to seeing how this project turns out!

09-28-2011, 04:39 PM
I don't have much experience with the L7's except that was what I originally wanted to put in my boat since most of my friends have them in their boats. I went by the stereo shop where I had my Nav done in my truck and asked their opinions on a box and location, I did not want it under the helm as I am 6' tall and didn't want to lose the leg room. They told me they would go with this JL 13.5" thinline sub they had and put it under the helm without a doubt. Don't get me wrong I had never used any JL stuff before as I grew up on Fosgate, Kicker and Alpine. May be dating myself a little. Anyway I wanted something that would not take up much space but still hit hard. They talked me into letting them put it under my dash in this tiny box they had. At first I was like there is no way that will sound good since the box was so small. They cranked it up and it hit hard, really hard... I was like WTF. Apparentley the speaker only requires only 0.8 cubic feet of airspace and is so thin I have only lost a very small amount of leg room. So little leg room that I never even notice it. With this speaker I don't need nearly the wattage or space that most others require and it hits just hard if not harder than my friends subs. I think people should buy what they want, but I think you should go buy your local shop and check this thing out just for comparison.

JL Audio 13.5 Thin-Line Subwoofer Driver - 13TW5-3 (http://www.google.com/products/catalog?hl=en&q=jl+13.5%22+sub&gs_upl=3770l3770l4l4713l1l1l0l0l0l0l175l175l0.1l1l 0&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&biw=1920&bih=954&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=5671784900484431125&sa=X&ei=64CDTrW2Ju_XiAKtzMX5Bw&ved=0CDQQ8wIwAw)

09-28-2011, 04:41 PM
personally, ditch the 10's and get a 12. do a sealed enclosure. spend some cash on a nice 12 tho. exile is supposed to be a nice speaker, but there are others out there as well that will fit the bill. an L7 would be nice. I did jl 12w6. the 12w7 would be an animal. really, any nice high end sub in the $300+ category would be a good answer :)

can't speak to the king product as I used mdf. I didn't epoxy mine, used truck bed liner as it's under the dash so shouldn't see any water and I'll be tired of the setup long before the mdf ever rots out.

09-28-2011, 06:28 PM
Option #2, maybe you could get a large box under there but you won't have any room at all. I have Exile's ported box with a 12" and it takes all of the under dash space, just enough in front to move my size 11's around a bit! It is a royal pain moving something that big in and out believe me! The seat has to come out and you have to play houdini getting it in place. Once in if you need to do ANYTHING under the dash your hosed.

King Starboard is the shizz as far as weight savings but you'd have to brace the crap out of it to avoid flex, that's how the Exile boxes are made. You'd need a serious expoy to help hold it all together as well.

MDF sucks, plain and simple. Seriously, it sucks up every drop of moisture there is until it falls apart. So you'd need to resin the crap out of it and then spray it with bedliner material or such in and out. This will make it extremely heavy on top of it's already bloated weight.

IF I was making another sealed box it would be out of 13-ply Birch plywood. Very impervious to moisture and rock solid. Waterproof it and it will last for years.

ian ashton
09-28-2011, 08:29 PM
Sandm; why would 1 12 be better than 2 10s? The 10s have more surface area, and thus the ability to move more air (less efficient, but power isn't an issue).

Am I missing something?

Also, the enclosure that I have mow, and what I plan to build again is very similar to the Exile box, mine is just a touch smaller. And yes, it's a tricky maneuver to get it in!

This is the current setup;
My thought is to build the same thing, but with a larger volume box behind the facia, and 2 subs instead of one.

09-28-2011, 10:02 PM
Is that dog deaf? LOL

09-28-2011, 11:01 PM
personally, ditch the 10's and get a 12. do a sealed enclosure. spend some cash on a nice 12 tho. exile is supposed to be a nice speaker, but there are others out there as well that will fit the bill. an L7 would be nice. I did jl 12w6. the 12w7 would be an animal. really, any nice high end sub in the $300+ category would be a good answer :)

can't speak to the king product as I used mdf. I didn't epoxy mine, used truck bed liner as it's under the dash so shouldn't see any water and I'll be tired of the setup long before the mdf ever rots out.

I second the motion! Probably because this is exactly what I did. I used the JL 12w3 which is a step below the 12w6 SandM used but it thumps hard. IMO a 12 in a box built to spec will do everything you want it to. I'm not as techy as Dave and Brian who will certainly chime in sooner or later - but I've has everything under the sun over the last 25 years (8's, 10's, 12's, 15's). And a 12 done right sounds good with all kinds of music.
You would definitely save space if you build a box and tuck it up under the dash on top of the foot rest. You won't lose ANY leg room and you'll gain all the space behind the spotter's seat that you don't have now.
I used MDF and put multiple coats of resin on it. The thing is solid as a rock and sounds better than I ever expected. Not to mention, unless you are looking for it you can't even tell it's there (until I turn up the tunes) :)

09-29-2011, 07:51 AM
I'm sure the experts will chime in with all kinds of facts/figures and there are a lot of math/physics that go into speakers, not to mention the entire audio chain, however this is just my opinion....

I've owned all kinds of different brands/sizes of speakers just like viking since getting in car audio in the 80's, and multiple speakers can sound great, heck, one of the best sounding boxes I ever owned held 3 late80's kicker competition 8" subs. they were very tight and controlled, and in the world of audio competitions, they performed very well since they were accurate... very fast sound. that being said, ANY truck that pulled up next to me running a single 12 sounded deeper, louder and had that bass that hit you in the gut. something that any 8" sub i've ever owned just won't do. my opinion and experience over the years has shown me that any sub with a good box and good power will sound good, but to get that low, "hit you in the gut" bass that you get at the clubs, you need larger drivers. it just feels that a 12 will play lower harder than a 10, and it doesn't matter how many 10's, a 12 feels like it will reproduce the lower frequencies that much better and louder. I get all the talk about surface area and moving air, but just because you add surface area, each sub still only plays a certain frequency range efficently.

either way you go, I'm sure you're results will be good, however ask me for my opinion, and I'll tell anyone put a good single 12 in any vehicle for the best results.. heck, even at home, I'm using a velodyne 1210, which uses a powered 10", but it's coupled to a passive 12" to get the lower frequencies covered :)

good luck and be sure and post pics of the remodel....

KG's Supra24
09-29-2011, 09:50 AM
I like the thought of the look of 2 square 10s under the helm. I think that would look awesome. However, you can't argue the performance of a single 12. I am running alpine under the helm and lost little to no legroom with a custom built box. Dusty ended up building a custom box for his exile which turned out great and didn't take up near the room the exile box does.

Single 12 ...


09-29-2011, 09:52 AM
I went throught the same dilemma last year. I ended up keeping a sub in each compartment and went from 2 10" L-5's to 2 12" JL W6's.
Same amp but doubled the volume and low end. It pounds hard. When I turn it up, anything in any of the cupholders starts spinning and dancing around.
The only thing is I want to do now is figure out how to vent the area behind the observers seat.

I went with birch ply, and am really happy with the perfomance of the boxes.

KG's Supra24
09-29-2011, 10:00 AM
Birch ply here as well.

Newty, Earmark sells some pre-made vents. Don't know anything about them, just seen them.

09-30-2011, 10:43 PM
All i can say is the Exile box custom made to my boat, same as what went into production for a short time is designed and tunes for the Big 12. I can say i have never seen a Sub outperform the Big 12 or at least the way mine is. Its rated at like 1100 Watts but it took every bit of 3600 watt peaks off my 1500 last year and this summer it was taking every bit of my new 2500 which i epect peaks at 4500. I pound on my stereo and anyone who as spent any time in my boat knows when theres a rider behind the boat the stereo is blasting at 28-30 and 30 being the max.

This sub is pretty intense to say the least.

As for why you should go with a a 12 other then your your 2 10s? Well i think its all a matter of taste and what you find to sound best.

Newty loves his 2 12s and i havnt herd them but i have herd his 2 10s and they pounded pretty hard, thats not what im about in my stereo, i dont need Hard pounding, i want balance threw my entire volume curve.

To me its not how much Boom you got or how much Volume you got, its how realistic it all sounds to make it seem like the music is live in the boat and not being replayed and artificially boosted to sound better or overcompensate for short commings of the music.

I run my truck stereo the same way. Its not the loudest but its certainly clean sounding.

As for the Shallow mount subs they have come a long way in the last few years and JLs is no doubt a bad ass shallow sub. I personaly run the Rockford Fosgate shallow 12 in my truck. Once i had a custom ported box made it came to life and most dont know its a shallow mount. Have about 3 inches behind my rear seat but the box goes almost the entre length of rear cab and this speaker pounds. I have 1000 watts of Exile power going to it and yes i can over power the speaker with certain songs but it keeps up very well for what it is.

In the end though a Shallow mount will never have the sound or the depth a Deep mount 12 will have. It simply cant move the same amount of air and produce the low end frequency.

If your going to build a box out of the same material Exile uses then id contact Brian for a copy of the brace techniques they used, and the type of epoxy they used and when you open my box its literaly a jiz saw puzzle of bracing.

For the record Ian your box takes as much room on the floor as does, mine comes right to the cupholder, one of my main issues when Exile designed my boax is i wanted use of box of my cup holders.

I have never had to remove my Sub box for maintenace to the boat, i can reach my fuses, and circuit breakers just fine. Its a stetch but it can be done.

ian ashton
10-06-2011, 12:20 PM
I just called a local distributor for King Starboard; they sell 54" x 96" x 3/4" in black for $267; a bit spendy but not as bad as I expected. I'll likely pick up a sheet after we get back from the honeymoon and start on a new box, as well as a consolidated battery box to save additional space. 2012 will be the year of regaining storage space in my boat, without sacrificing sounds!

10-06-2011, 01:49 PM
KingStarboard sub enclosure? What type of adhesive do you plan on using?
Most who make plastic enclosures will use PVC so they can get good glue seams.

Earmark Marine

ian ashton
10-06-2011, 01:52 PM
I have no idea, that was the original intent of this thread, lol.

What kind of PVC and glue would you recommend so I know what to ask for?

10-06-2011, 05:55 PM
Not sure of the distinquishing differences in one PVC to another but the plastics supplier and manufacturer will have defined guidelines for adhesives.
For a water-resistant enclosure we use MEDEX or MDO solvent-based materials. We tried PVC and several other polymers around 10 years ago and found them to be too acoustically live, especially when using thinner 1/2-inch material on expansive enclosures. I still have the original sample enclosures around to illustrate the difference.

Earmark Marine

10-06-2011, 05:59 PM
Starboard is polyethylene based & doesn't take to gluing very well. You can get PVC in sheets or dimensional lumber sizes from specialty lumber yards (used to make "fake" wood decks). They should also have the appropriate adhesives (like PVC pipe primer/cement).